Local & Regional

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A bill being considered in the Oklahoma Legislature would prohibit abortions being sought because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a genetic abnormality.

An abortion rights group says Oklahoma would be only the third state to approve such a measure.

A Norman woman who recently terminated her pregnancy after learning her baby had an untreatable birth defect and wouldn't survive called the bill deeply troubling.

Bixby Council About-Face

Apr 12, 2017
Google Street View

The Bixby City Council has a change of heart. The council has approved a proposal for a new 500+ housing addition. The project is for the southeast corner of 161st and South Memorial.

Back during the winter months, the Bixby Council turned down the proposal after residents voiced concerns over school over crowding and over extending city services such as police, fire, water and sewer.

Mixed Crowd for Bridenstine Tulsa Town Hall

Apr 12, 2017
Bridenstine's office

'Cheers and Jeers' greet Tulsa Congressman Jim Bridenstine at a town hall meeting. The gathering was at the ORU Mabee Center last night.

The congressman received mixed reviews from the audience when discussing health care reform, veterans issues, the Russian investigation into election tampering and the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile, 2nd District Congressman Markwayne Mullin has canceled his town hall meeting for Tahlequah. The Congressman cited safety concerns. In a statement, he says the event will be rescheduled when a different venue is located. 

File Photo

Oklahoma is one of just three states with free universal pre-K, and enrollment is now open.

"We really want folks to get enrolled before the summer so that districts have time to plan for the space in the classroom, because we know what an impact pre-K is making for our kids in our community," said ImpactTulsa's Autumn Worten.

One in three Tulsa-area four-year-olds — that's 3,000 kids — aren’t going to pre-K. Worten said the benefits can’t be overstated.

Margaret Hudson Program

A program for pregnant teens that’s struggling with grant funding losses gets a big gift.

Saint Francis volunteers, led by Rebecca Darrow, have donated $100,000 to the Margaret Hudson Program, which needs more than $400,000 to finish this fiscal year.

"We still have a little ways to go, but it definitely has helped us in the process of raising the funds that we need," said Margaret Hudson Program Executive Director Betina Tillman.

The program is down more than $700,000 in funding between losses of state and United Way grants, prompting cutbacks in on-site child care

Feed the Children

A former U.S. congressman is suing an Oklahoma City-based nonprofit, alleging he was fired from his role as CEO and president in retaliation for reporting problems at the charity to the state attorney general's office.

The Oklahoman reports J.C. Watts abruptly left Feed the Children in November, less than 10 months into his three-year contract. He claims the board of directors terminated him the day after he told them he reported his allegations to the attorney general's office.

State Impact-Oklahoma

 

 Oklahoma finance officials say declining revenue collections are forcing them to make withdrawals from various funds to make agency allocations this month and are warning state agencies that further budget cuts may be ordered.

Oklahoma's Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger released budget figures Tuesday that show collections to the state's main operating fund in March were 9 percent below the official estimate.

Shadow Mountain

There are allegations of abuse and neglect of juvenile patients at a Tulsa behavioral and psychiatric center. The claims are about treatment at various Shadow Mountain facilities in the Tulsa area.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services’ Sheree Powell says there are nine open investigations, but can not discuss details.

Powell says if problems are confirmed, it will be up to the District Attorney to decide if criminal charges should be filed.                        

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This is committee deadline week, and several bills aimed at reforming criminal justice laws in the state remain active. Chairman of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, Kris Steele, says passing the measures could reduce prison populations and save a lot of money…about $2-billion which Steele says could be spent to help fill the state budget hole.

An earlier measure that would have rolled back several changes passed by voters in November failed to get a committee hearing in the senate. Steele calls that a positive step.

The Younger Bever Goes Before a Tulsa Judge

Apr 11, 2017
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The now 18-year-old stands accused of taking part in the gruesome stabbing deaths of his parents and three siblings. The murders took place in Broken Arrow during the summer of 2015.

Michael Bever was in court this morning for a discovery hearing. That hearing will continue on May 22nd. His trial on murder charges is set for June.

Bever's older brother, Robert, admitted to taking part in the murders. He is serving multiple life sentences.

Rogers County

 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says a 12-year-old northeast Oklahoma girl has died of a suspected overdose of medications and her grandmother was arrested for child neglect in the case.

The OSBI said Monday that the girl was from Chelsea and died during the weekend at a Claremore hospital where she was taken after becoming unresponsive.

The OSBI says the 59-year-old grandmother discovered the girl had taken the medication, but failed to seek medical attention. The grandmother is being held in the Rogers County jail pending formal charges.

In the local news:

  • ODOT agrees to be part of the Gilcrease Expressway construction.
  • A state email causes an uproar during LGBTQ lobbying at the state capitol
  • All Souls will move to an all new location.

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Inmates at a Mexican prison made extortion telephone calls to Mexicans living in several U.S. cities, often claiming to be relatives, prosecutors said Monday.

Jalisco state prosecutor Eduardo Almaguer said the fraudulent phone calls targeted Mexicans living in Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and cities in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and elsewhere.

Almaguer said a group of about 10 inmates made the calls using prohibited cellphones.

File Photo

 

Oral Roberts fired men's basketball coach Scott Sutton on Monday after 18 years.

The school made the announcement in a release on the team's website.

Sutton had a 328-247 record at Oral Roberts, and the Golden Eagles made the NCAA Tournament three straight years from 2006-2008. They won the Summit League regular-season title in 2011-2012 with a 27-win campaign.

Sutton leaves as the winningest coach in school history, despite Oral Roberts having losing records the past two years — 14-17 in 2015-16 and 8-22 last season.

 

An email from an Oklahoma state House staffer on Monday to legislative assistants that said high school pages could use a women's restroom reserved for House members and staff because "cross-dressers" were in the state Capitol was met with criticism, including from the House speaker.

Cross-dressing is a term considered offensive to transgender people, whose biology at birth does not match their gender identity.

File Photo

The Oklahoma House appropriations and budget subcommittee on education passed several funding measures Monday, but none dealt with teacher pay raises.

One was a plan to potentially overhaul state funding for public schools. Senate Bill 261 calls for the formation of a task force to present recommendations for improving the state aid formula by the end of this year.

Rep. Dennis Casey said any time you change the formula, there will be winners and losers.

Tweaks may be coming to the state scholarship program known as Oklahoma’s Promise.

Among the provisions of Senate Bill is a stipulation the scholarships can’t be spent on remedial courses that don’t earn college credits.

"Put that remedial support within the context of a credit-earning course so that student is making progress but is getting those supplemental academic supports that they need," said Bryce Fair, who oversees grants and scholarships for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

All Souls to Get All New Location

Apr 10, 2017
All Souls-Facebook

After 60 years, just north of Brookside, Tulsa’s All Souls Unitarian Church is moving. The congregation voted on Sunday to relocate from 29th and South Peoria to the downtown area. The Reverend Marlin Lavanhar says the new home will be at Sixth and Frankfort.

He says the land was donated by three families in the church. The church is starting a capital campaign to build the new facility                        

ODOT Signs On to Gilcrease Project

Apr 10, 2017
ODOT-KWGS News

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation becomes the latest organization to officially sign-on to the collaborative effort to extend the Gilcrease Expressway across the Arkansas River.

KWGS News

Highway 51 has reopened between Wagoner and Coweta this morning. A tug boat, pushing four barges, hit the bridge supports in the McClellen-Kerr Navigation Channel around 7 a.m. this morning.

The bridge was closed for inspection and no problems were found. The Coast Guard, The Highway Patrol and O-DOT were all called to the scene. 

In 2002, a barge hit the I-40 bridge over the navigation channel. That caused the bridge collapse. 14 people were killed. 

Construction Backs Up Highway 75

Apr 10, 2017

Work is underway on a massive Highway 75 resurfacing project in south Tulsa.

The work is from from the Highway 75/I-244 split in west Tulsa, south to the Creek Turnpike near Glenpool.

The work is expected to take several months.  It should wrap up in early summer.

  •  Small Energy Producers call for equal taxation across the industry.
  • Money is raised to buy the Bever Family murder scene and tear it down.
  • The Health industry is worried about state cuts and the impact on care.

KWGS News File Photo

 

A Tulsa teenager has been sentenced to prison for a shooting and wounding a former UFC fighter and his son during a robbery attempt.

Harold Thompson, 17, was sentenced as an adult to serve 35 years in prison on Thursday after entering blind guilty pleas for assault and battery with a deadly weapon, attempted robbery with a firearm, and possession of a firearm after juvenile adjudication, the Tulsa World reported.

Payne County Sheriff

 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says a fourth person has been arrested in connection with the death of an Oklahoma man and the burning of his body.

Firefighters found the body of 38-year-old Michael Dwayne Hamilton in a burning brush pile in a field southwest of Stillwater early March 29.

The OSBI says 27-year-old Storm Fields was arrested Friday on a complaint of being an accessory after the fact for allegedly helping clean the crime scene.

OHP

 

 The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a Tulsa man was killed when he crashed his sport utility vehicle while leading police on vehicle chase.

The OHP says 40-year-old Eric Poore died at a hospital less than an hour after crashing about 11 p.m. Saturday in northwest Tulsa.

An OHP report says Poore was traveling at a high speed while being pursued by law enforcement when the SUV he was driving went off the road in a curve and crashed into an embankment, then struck a tree.

Small Energy Producers Want Tax Equality

Apr 10, 2017
Wikipedia

 

A group of small oil and natural gas producers in Oklahoma have formed an alliance and are asking the Legislature to increase the gross production tax back to 7 percent, saying the industry is committed to helping solve the state's budget crisis.

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The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 15 this week to 839.

A year ago, 443 rigs were active.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 672 rigs sought oil and 165 explored for natural gas this week. Two were listed as miscellaneous.

Texas increased by seven rigs, Oklahoma gained four, Wyoming rose by two and Louisiana, New Mexico and West Virginia each gained one.

Alaska lost one rig.

Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah were all unchanged.

OKHistory.net

When a train jumped the tracks this past week at New York's Penn Station, the seemingly minor accident led to a cascade of exasperating delays for hundreds of thousands of commuters.

When a flood forced authorities to condemn a one-lane, century-old bridge in rural Ozark, Missouri, it was no less frustrating for the residents and business owners cut off from their shortest route into town.

National Weather Service

Forecasters say severe thunderstorms packing damaging winds, heavy rainfall and large hail are possible by the end of the weekend in parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas.

The National Weather Service says a line of storms will develop in the west late Sunday afternoon and sweep east across central and northeast Oklahoma by the evening. Any severe storms could produce wind gusts up to 60 mph and quarter-size hail.

Storm chances in all three states continue Monday as a cold front moves into the region.

Custer County Sheriff

The state's top law enforcement agency is investigating after sheriff's deputies discovered a body on the Washita River earlier this week.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation took over the case after the medical examiner notified authorities about suspicious injuries found on the body.

The Custer County Sheriff's Office was initially called Wednesday after the body was discovered on the river south of the town of Clinton in western Oklahoma.

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